Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finding focus

Reading these helps me get back into writing. They all have an enviable density that I strive to emulate. The Chabon excerpt is just spectacular. There are others but these are the ones I reach for time and again.

Vladimir Nabokov
Speak, memory: An Autobiography Revisited

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour).

William Gibson
New Rose Hotel

Hiroshi showed all the signs of having settled in. He’d found a German girl with a taste for conservative loden and riding boots polished the shade of a fresh chestnut. He’d bought a renovated town house on the right square. He’d taken up fencing and given up kendo.

Michael Chabon
The Martian Agent

A spatulate darkness, shaped like a shark, poured itself along the rue and alleys of the Vieux Carre. It splashed against the sides of houses and shops, then surged up walls of brick and clapboard to flood the Quarter’s rooftops - drowning chimney pots, weather vanes and tin flues - before brimming over the volutes of a cornice and ladling itself once more down an iron balcony to the street.

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